AMERICAN FOOTBALL: The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks won their National Football League conference championships in brilliant style last night to set up a historic Super Bowl between the top two ranked teams.
The Broncos, led by their unflappable quarterback Peyton Manning, beat the New England Patriots 26-16 in Colorado to make it to their first Super Bowl in 15 years.
The Seahawks overturned a 10-0 deficit to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in Washington state and advance to the NFL's title game for just the second time in the franchise's history. "This feels even sweeter," said Seattle owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. "What an amazing job in a super tough game."
The two teams will meet in the 48th Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on February 2 in a game that has all the makings of a classic with the Broncos boasting the best offense in the league and the Seahawks the best defense.
The Broncos will be appearing in the Super Bowl for the seventh time, one less than the record jointly shared by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, and chasing their third win after back-to-back victories in the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
The 49ers were also cursing their postseason ill-fortune. Beaten by the New York Giants in the NFC title game two years ago, then by the Baltimore Ravens in last season's Super Bowl, the Niners still had a chance to beat the Seahawks.
But their hopes were dashed when Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted a pass from San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick with just 22 seconds left on the clock.